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Travel Nurse Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Travel Nurse interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Travel Nurse was written by and updated on December 28th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

How do you prioritize when multiple patients and procedures demand your attention at once?

How to Answer

Working in any patient unit or clinic comes with times where the patient load is crazy. During these times, nurses are often the glue that holds everything together in the department to ensure that things run smoothly. Try to talk about a particular situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients at one time, how you handled the situation and what the outcome was.

Written by Darby Faubion

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30 Travel Nurse Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. How do you prioritize when multiple patients and procedures demand your attention at once?

      How to Answer

      Working in any patient unit or clinic comes with times where the patient load is crazy. During these times, nurses are often the glue that holds everything together in the department to ensure that things run smoothly. Try to talk about a particular situation where you had to prioritize multiple patients at one time, how you handled the situation and what the outcome was.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "During my clinical rotation in an Urgent Care clinic, we had a very busy day where many patients were coming in due to widespread flu. In working with my preceptor, I learned how to communicate to patients. His calmness in handling the situation was inspiring. Also, personally, during my final year of coursework in college, I was taking 18 credits each semester. During these semesters, I had to learn to prioritize my classwork by due dates and order of importance. By utilizing checklists and working through each thing one at a time, I learned invaluable skills that I can bring to my nursing career."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "During busy times, I always remember that the needs of the patient come first so my triage skills come into use to prioritize which patients should be seen first. Exercising good communication between myself, the physicians and my patients is extremely important. Once I have established a good line of communication, I remember toI stay calm and handle patients with quality care one at a time."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "One day on my shift as a nurse in the surgery center, we were booked full of cases throughout the day. As the day progressed, we had a couple of other trauma cases that were a high priority come in due to an auto accident. When this happened, we had to work as a team to communicate to current patients and family members in waiting that we had to push their times back in the day due to an emergent situation. An on-call surgeon came in later in the day to help cover the regularly scheduled cases and I had to communicate with the three surgeons on duty as to where I was needed and when I needed to be there. In the end, being able to prioritize the patients and my duties was crucial in helping the day in the surgery center run smoothly."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "I always begin by examining patient safety. If there are multiple needs and one involves patient safety that is where I first direct my attention. I then address any acute, urgent needs such as if a patient is experiencing significant pain that needs treatment. I then prioritize according to the time that individual tasks need to be completed by. For example, I would prioritize my patients having procedures according to what time their procedure is and when they will be picked up by the surgical team."

      Written by Tabitha Cumpian on December 28th, 2022

  • 2. How would you respond to an emergency situation at work?

      How to Answer

      Depending on the situation, you will want to respond quickly and make yourself available to assist the doctor in any way you can. Be aware of the surroundings and also observe the patient. Your best response will be one where you are sensitive to the situation by listening closely to the doctor and nurses involved. There may not be anything you can do to help, but if you get in the way, you could definitely create more problems. Ask what you can do and pay attention. If you need to step aside, be respectful and understanding.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "If an emergency were to arise, I would wait patiently for the doctors orders and assist her or him in whatever she or he needs. If there is an immediate danger to a patient or someone in my care, I would make sure to offer assistance to get them to safety."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "There can be any number of emergency situations in a healthcare facility, so how I would respond would be dependent upon what type of emergency it is. First and foremost is the safety of patients and employees. I would make sure no one is in immediate danger and follow any emergency protocol, per facility instructions."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "I am the type of individual who will run to the emergency situation instead of away. I have the ability to focus well and think well under pressure. I also have my emergency nurse certification."

      Written by Tabitha Cumpian on December 28th, 2022

  • 3. Nursing requires a great deal of physical exertion and travel nurses work in various positions. Are you comfortable with physically demanding assignments?

      How to Answer

      The nursing profession can be physically demanding. Standing and walking for long stretches, assisting in lifting patients and staying awake for odd hours and long periods of time are some of the physical demands of the job. For the position that you are interviewing for, make sure to research what the physical demands are for the job and point out how you are able to handle those tasks. It can also be beneficial to discuss your self-care methods because being a nurse often requires being in healthy mental and physical condition.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I know that as I enter a nursing career, I will be asked to do some pretty extreme physical activity. Lifting patients and standing for long hours at a time comes easy to me as I've participate in sports all the way through high school and continued this through college. Being in great shape and eating healthy is a lifestyle choice that I have made and it will definitely help me in my nursing career moving forward."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      1st Answer Example

      "Through my nursing career, I have spent many long hours on my feet and working shifts at non-traditional times. To be able to do this with ease, I have worked hard to be in the best physical shape that I can be by jogging on a regular basis, eating healthy and getting ample amounts of sleep each and every night."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "In my nursing career, I have always handled the physical requirements of the job with ease. Before lift systems were standard in inpatient rooms, we physically lifted patients into and out of their beds when needed. The long hours and standing for long periods of time come easy to me as well. I realized early in my career that I needed to care for myself and my physical well-being outside of work and I continue to do this to this day."

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Experienced Example

      "Yes, I am. I understand the physical demands that being a nurse requires and so I maintain a consistent exercise routine to keep me healthy and strong so that I can perform my duties to my best possible potential."

      Written by Tabitha Cumpian on December 28th, 2022

  • 4. Why do you think nurses often report experiencing 'burn out' and what do you do to help try to prevent that?

      How to Answer

      Being a healthcare provider is a great responsibility. Unfortunately, because of the great responsibility, many providers do report experiencing the need to take a break. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling stress and that you know when to ask for help.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I had a great mentor when I was in nursing school. She told me if I didn't remember anything else she told me, that I should always remember to take care of myself. I have grown to understand what she meant. If we are bogged down physically and emotionally, it is easy to become overwhelmed and experience feeling burned out."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 5. When did you first decide to become a nurse, and why?

      How to Answer

      Understanding what drove you to become a nurse speaks volumes to the interviewer. The interviewer knows that you are dedicated or you wouldn't have gone to nursing school and wouldn't be willing to travel to care for others. This is a chance for the interviewer to get to know you; share your personal thoughts.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "From the time I was in junior high school, all I could think of was growing up and becoming a nurse. My best friend's dad was a family practitioner and I remember being very young, sitting in a room and talking with him about his practice. He would always lighten up about his amazing staff, especially the nurses. He made me realize that becoming a nurse was what I wanted to be. I have always remembered him and his genuine personality, optimism, and the love he had for his nursing staff."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 6. Have you ever considered choosing a different specialty?

      How to Answer

      Many employee candidates are unsure of how to answer this question. Most feel that if they say they may have other interests that the interviewer will not recommend them for employment. This is not necessarily the case. This is simply an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know your interests.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "Actually, I had initially thought that I would become a xray technician. Something about nursing was just very intriguing to me and I knew I wanted to make a career in this specialty area."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 7. How do you handle stressful situations?

      How to Answer

      Stress management will be essential for you to be able to handle tight deadlines, long hours and demanding patients. Before answering this question, think of some tools that have helped you manage your stress. What will you do when you can't take a break when you need it? How will you stay calm when dealing with those challenging personalities? Share any helpful techniques that you use every day to remain clear-headed in some of the most stressful scenarios.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "When I am under pressure on the job, I try to focus on the job at hand. I like to make lists and prioritize activities that I need to accomplish."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 8. What about your work feeds your spirit?

      How to Answer

      This question will give the interviewer an inside look at how you think and what motivates you. This is an opportunity to let the interviewer see inside you, not just watch perform a task. Be open. If you can recall a specific event that happened while working that made you happy or feel fulfilled, share it.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "To be able to care for a child during a time that is so stressful and to be able to touch the lives of others in some small way is meaningful beyond words. When a parent looks me in the eye, gives me a hug, and thanks me for making a difference in the life of their child, the feeling is remarkable."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 9. Salary is often commensurate with experience. How do you feel about someone with more experience than you having a higher salary but doing the same job?

      How to Answer

      Most employers do offer higher salary incentives to get more seasoned employees. This is not meant to devalue a person's knowledge or experience, but rather paying for more experience. It is important to note that the interviewer is not saying you will definitely make less than someone with more experience. Many times this question is to see how you respond and how badly you want a position. If an employee is willing to put in the work and earn the pay increase, employers often see them as someone worth investing in. This is a good time to ask what the beginning salary is and discuss options that are negotiable such as benefits and paid time off.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I don't have a problem with someone who has more experience than me making a higher salary. I respect the experience that others have and know that I will have to prove myself."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 10. Do you have experience working with peers from diverse backgrounds?

      How to Answer

      In an industry as large as healthcare, diversity among peers is inevitable. To be successful, it is crucial to learn how to work with a diverse group of people. Some people are intimidated when faced with learning new cultures and beliefs, but in the healthcare industry, it is crucial to provide effective care. The interviewer wants to know that you are open to meeting and learning about new people and becoming an integral part of the team. Be positive with your response.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "The largest diverse group I worked with was probably when I did my clinical rotation at University Medical Center. I was afforded the opportunity to meet people from different cultures, religions, and professional backgrounds. It gave me an eye-opening experience of how many wonderful people there are!"

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 11. Do you feel like you have strong relationship building skills?Building strong relationships is essential for success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception. Share why you think you have good relationship building skills.

      How to Answer

      Building strong relationships is essential for success of any business. The healthcare industry is no exception. Share why you think you have good relationship building skills.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I do feel like I have good relationship building skills. I like people and enjoy getting to know them."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 12. Can you recall a time when you had a disagreement with a co-worker or boss? If so, how was it resolved?

      How to Answer

      Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I am a pretty easy-going person and do my best to avoid conflict. Like anyone else, I am sure there have been times that a co-worker and I have had a difference of opinion, but there has never been an instance that the disagreement was something that would have interfere with my work."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 13. What would you describe as your biggest weakness?

      How to Answer

      This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "One of my weaknesses is that I often get nervous around people I don't know. I know we all do that to a certain degree, but for me, it has become something that I am aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there are going to be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 14. Some travel nurses are assigned to well-child clinics. Have you ever done wellness exams or given immunizations to pediatric patients?

      How to Answer

      Depending on the services a facility provides, some pediatric nurses may be expected to assist with well child exams and/or give immunizations. While every skill you are asked about in an interview may not be a mandatory skill for employment, the interviewer will be able to compare your experience and skills with all possible openings.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I have always worked the pediatric unit in a hospital setting. So far, I have not had experience with working with well-child care and screenings or immunization administration."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 15. Tell me about a time you had to communicate bad news to a patient. How did you effectively communicate that news and what was the outcome?

      How to Answer

      As a nurse, the need to communicate effectively to a patient is vital and this is no more evident than when delivering bad news. The interviewer will be looking to see how you handled yourself in a particular instance by showing empathy and composure where most individuals wouldn't be able to. Think of a time when you had to do this and talk about an instance that had a great outcome.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "During my time in clinical rotations on a Med/Surg unit, I had been working with a patient throughout the day that was planning to be released back home by 4:00 pm that afternoon. As my day shift was ending, the physician notified us that due to the fact the patients blood pressure hadn't dropped to an acceptable level, he would have to stay another night for observation. When I was in the room with my preceptor, she gave the news to the patient calmly and explained the reason why it was necessary. While certainly excited to be sent home, he fully understood the reasoning why and took the news well due to her simple delivery of the message."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 16. What made you decide on a career as a travel nurse?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers almost always ask a candidate what made them choose their career. This is an opportunity to tell the interviewer what you like, what drives you. This is a chance for the interviewer to get to know you on a more personal level

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I didn't know in the beginning what exactly I wanted to do, only that I wanted to be a nurse. I enjoy meeting new people and being able to experience the different types of facilities there are from state to state."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 17. How would your coworkers describe you?

      How to Answer

      Questions such as this one are asked with the aim of getting you to discuss some of your qualities, perhaps hidden that you wouldn't have mentioned if you weren't asked. Remember to share positives, but not sound conceited.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I believe those that have worked with me would say that I am approachable and that I am willing to work hard to make teamwork effective."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 18. What motivates you to do a good job?

      How to Answer

      This question is practically begging you to highlight your positive attributes. So don't give a vague, generic response - it tells them very little about you. Instead, try and use this question as an opportunity to give the interviewer some insight into your character, and use examples where possible.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "The feeling of knowing that I have the chance to improve the quality of life
      For someone really motivates me. There is just something about knowing that I can have a small part in the life of someone who is trusting me to care for them."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 19. In your position now, knowing what you do, what would you say to someone who is just now starting a nursing career?

      How to Answer

      The old saying 'Hindsight is 20/20' is something many people say is true. This question gives you an opportunity to show how you have grown and what kind of wisdom you may pass on to someone who is coming into this career after you.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I would have to say, 'If you feel like you want to specialize in one area and then change your mind, go with it. We all have that special calling in our life. We just have to listen for it.'"

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 20. Where do you see yourself in five years?

      How to Answer

      There's really no right answer to this question, but the interviewer wants to know that you're ambitious, career-oriented, and committed to a future with the hospital. So instead of sharing your dream for early retirement, or trying to be funny, give them an answer that illustrates your drive and commitment.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I really want to focus on my career and possibly gain some more certifications that will make me a more valuable asset to the team I am working with."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 21. Have you ever had a disagreement with a coworker? If so, how was it resolved?

      How to Answer

      Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I am usually a very soft-spoken person and strive to be the 'peacekeeper.' I can't recall any specific incident of a disagreement. I would like to think that if a disagreement arises I would be able to handle things in a professional manner and resolve the issue in a respectful manner."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 22. What is something you learned from your previous boss?

      How to Answer

      Remember: if you get the job, the person interviewing you may one day be your previous boss. The last thing they want is to hire someone who they know is going to badmouth them some day. Instead of focusing on any negative incident, try to think about any positive thing you learned from your previous boss or a way that you say him positively impact things at work.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "My previous employer was a very kind-hearted person. Even when things seemed stressful at work or we had a really hectic day, she always seemed to keep her cool. Her attitude set the pace for our whole team."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 23. In addition to providing care to ill clients, nurses must attend to stressed out family members. How do you approach offering support to family members?

      How to Answer

      It is natural for caregivers to be afraid and experience anxiety. Communicating your compassion and knack for comforting others will show an interviewer how well-rounded you are as a nursing professional.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I know what it's like to be the family member who is worried about a loved one requiring care. I remember when my father was very ill. He had some nurses who were very kind and approachable. He had a few that were not so kind. I always try to remember how I felt when I was the one in need of support and to treat those family members with the same kind of respect and kindness that I wanted."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 24. Have you ever been in a situation in which a co-worker put a patient in jeopardy? If so, how did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      If you have ever been faced with a situation that resulted in you having to make a judgment call that may have affected the job of a friend or co-worker, you know how disheartening it can be. However, nurses are bound by law to protect patients and other co-workers by reporting anything in appropriate or dangerous. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of identifying and reporting a situation if needed.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I have never been in a situation that required me to report a coworker. Honestly, I hope I never experience a situation like that."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 25. What are some things that you do to keep your medical records portfolio up to date?

      How to Answer

      Different travel agencies have different ways of handling medical records that are required for the nurse's assignment sites. Keeping a portfolio of important medical
      Records on hand and available for inspection, if needed, is always a good idea. Some facilities will not allow a travel nurse to practice without specific documentation.

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 26. Has there ever been a time when you received negative feedback, and how did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      Receiving negative feedback can be discouraging, but it doesn't have to be something that leaves you feeling incapable of doing your job. The important thing to remember when answering this question is don't talk negatively about the person who gave you the feedback. Rather state what was said and how you grew from the event.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I once received negative feedback when I was working the ER. One of my patient's mother was very upset that her child was not being treated as quickly as she thought and she complained to my supervisor that I was not doing my job. After talking with the supervisor, I asked if I could spend some extra time with the patient and his mother so that she could experience the good care that we give. Fear and uncertainty is often a reason that people lash out. Sometimes a gentle word is all that one needs to help relieve a stressful situation."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 27. Travel nurses are often required to work odd shifts. Are you willing to work, nights, weekends, holidays, or overtime if needed?

      How to Answer

      Being flexible with the schedule you are willing to work is always a plus, especially for a travel nurse. Being upfront with the interviewer about what schedule suits your preference could help prevent conflict later on. It is easier to plan a schedule you can agree on than it is to fix problems that arise due to fear of being rejected. Be honest and direct.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "Yes, I am open to work odd shifts and holidays. Travel nursing is something I really want to be active in and am open to work any shift."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 28. Do you have any specialty nursing certifications?

      How to Answer

      Although a specialty certification may not be required, you will increase your potential career worth by not only diversifying your areas of expertise, but by obtaining specialty nurse certification in those areas. It could set you apart when applying to popular travel hot spots and assignments.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "I do not have any specialty certifications at this time. However, I do have several years of experience working in different specialty areas."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 29. What measures did you take to prepare yourself for the travel demands that this career requires?

      How to Answer

      Travel nursing requires that a nurse be comfortable in strange hospitals while performing their job with skill and ease. One way to simulate a travel nurse experience is to become a float nurse at your present job. Do you hate to float because supplies are in an unfamiliar spot? Don't know your co-workers? Are you perturbed that the patient's rooms are not in a familiar layout? Or, would you view these issues as a challenge instead of being frustrated? Remember when you are out on assignment, you will be in a totally unfamiliar facility. Everything will probably be different, from the flow of parking to the computer system. If you do not float in your own facility comfortably, you may want to reconsider travel nursing, or at least have a backup plan.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "While I was still working my regular job, I took on a few prn positions so that I could familiarize myself with the adjustments of working in different areas with co-workers that I don't know. I really felt like that prepared me for the experiences of being in different places."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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  • 30. What characteristics do you think are important for healthcare professionals to have?

      How to Answer

      There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

      Written by Darby Faubion

      Entry Level Example

      "Confidence is one thing I think is important. It's hard to believe in someone who doesn't believe in themselves."

      Written by Darby Faubion

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